FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, registered nurse Chrissie Burkhiser, left, hands medication to a COVID-19 patient inside the emergency room at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Mo. Amid the coronavirus resurgence, states have begun reopening field hospitals to handle an influx of sick patients that is pushing health care systems — and their workers — to the breaking point. Hospitals are bringing in mobile morgues. And funerals are once again being livestreamed or performed as drive-by affairs. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Edmonton field hospital ready by January, to be used as last resort: health minister

EDMONTON — A new field hospital being set up on Edmonton’s University of Alberta campus will be operational by January, but Health Minister Tyler Shandro says it remains a last-ditch contingency.

Shandro says the temporary 100-bed facility would only be necessary if current hospital limits, including creating up to 2,250 beds for COVID-19 patients, are reached.

The project is being done with help from the Canadian Red Cross and is being set it up inside the Universiade Pavilion.

The cavernous, multi-purpose sports facility, just south of the downtown, is better known as the Butterdome given its rectangular shape and yellow exterior.

If necessary, the field hospital is to be used for non-critical patients and patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but are at low risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Alberta already has a field hospital up and running outside the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, and it’s currently being used to allow for extra physical distancing while emergency patients are treated.

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